City employee charged with gas theft http://www.privateofficer.com
Gastonia NC May 31 2008
A Gastonia city employee has been arrested and charged with stealing 2,438 gallons of gasoline from municipal pumps over the past 22 months.
David Michael Walls, 51, of 142 Farmgate Circle in Dallas, is facing six counts of larceny by an employee for allegedly taking $4,966 worth of gasoline from the city on 72 occasions between August 2006 and May 2008.
Walls, an auto mechanic in fleet services, was hired by the city in May 1994. He was suspended from his job Thursday without pay, according to Assistant City Manager Flip Bombardier.
He was allegedly caught on surveillance video stealing gasoline from pumps at the city’s Public Works building at 800 N. Broad St., said Gastonia Police Detective T.D. Wilson.”They (the city) found out he was stealing gas,” Wilson said.
The investigation began after the city conducted an audit of gas fueling stations, police reported.Walls told police that he took the gasoline for his own personal use and was not selling it to others, Wilson said.
Bombardier said he could not comment on an ongoing criminal investigation or discuss private personnel matters concerning Walls. Walls could not be reached for comment Thursday.
“We take allegations of criminal activity by our employees very seriously,” City Manager Jim Palenick said in a press release. “We will investigate them fully and prosecute illegal actions to the fullest extent of the law to protect the city’s and its taxpayers’ interests.”
Walls was released from the Gaston County Jail Thursday on a $25,000 bond. He has a court hearing scheduled for today at the Gaston County Courthouse.
Wilson said the estimated value of the stolen gasoline is based on the price that Gastonia paid for it. Gastonia buys gasoline in bulk at wholesale prices, according to Bombardier.
That price averaged $1.86 per gallon between August and December 2006 versus $2.82 on May 16, when Walls was identified as a suspect, according to arrest warrants. Bombardier said the city paid more than $3 per gallon for its most recent gasoline order.
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